I’m a liberal feminist in Texas, so I hear a lot of sexist crap. And I expect it from conservatives. It needs to be challenged and fought against, however, it’s not surprising or disappointing when conservatives engage in sexist behavior. But when self proclaimed liberals or feminists do? It aggravates me a hecuva lot more because we should be better than that.
Monday night Hillary Clinton showed grace, stamina, and smarts in her debate with Trump, where she successfully baited him into revealing the arrogant bully that he is while talking about her policies and aspirations for the presidency. Watching the debate was both exhilarating and anxiety inducing. It took guts and resolve to stand there for two hours while her opponent was badgering and bullying her and to not snap or sink to his level. And no, I don’t think Bernie Sanders could have done it. Only a woman who has had to put up with this shit for decades could have navigated the tricky minefield that is debating with Trump. Certainly none of the Republican candidates managed it.
For a lot of people, Clinton had turned into a hero for standing up to Trump and exposing him for what he is and without breaking a sweat.
And then there are so-called feminists who aren’t. She starts with
I wish Trump had interrupted Clinton more. I wish he’d peed on her podium or kicked it over. I feel no empathy or sympathy – at all – for this rich racist white woman’s pubic humiliation at the hands of the masters she serves.
This is misogyny pure and simple. Calling for the humiliation and violence against a woman running for public office because she supposedly deserves it is both victim blaming and incredibly misogynistic. I had major issues with Sarah Palin, but I never wish for her to be treated as Hillary Clinton was on that stage, and I would certainly not wish more upon her. Feminism is about respecting women, and the thing about respect, is you respect people whether or not they deserve it because it is the right thing to do.
Further, I am wracking my brain, but these people who glorify in hating Clinton sure loved President Obama (I don’t know about this blogger specifically, but my friend who shared this post sure did). I do not remember reading blogs written by black people saying that President Obama deserves the racist hatred that has been unleashed against him for serving his corrupt masters or because he plays in a system that is colonialist and imperialistic.
You can acknowledge the system is broken while working internally to change it, and Clinton has done just that. She has done it while advocating for people of color and people with different abilities (a segment of the population that always gets overlooked. Clinton has remembered us and got her start advocating for us). She has an impressive and long record on advocating for women and children. And that she has traveled to countries to successfully negotiate for the release of foreign dissidents and improve the lives of women and children in those countries.
Do you want to know why women from Susan B. Anthony to Ida B. Wells, Sojourner Truth to Alice Paul faced imprisonment, starvation and forced feedings for the right to vote? It’s because they knew it was the only way to get people into office who would hear their grievances and work to fix them. And indeed, once women started voting, issues like child labor laws, family leave, or whether or a not a woman could own a credit card were brought to the table and passed.
Why do you think that people who care about women and minorities want to see them in elected office? Because those people will advance issues that they know affect women and minorities and that will benefit them and thereby change the system.
Change is slow.
It is agonizingly slow.
I get that.
When we are still in 2016 debating about whether or not women should have access to safe, affordable birth control and abortion, I get frustrated.
When my husband and I scrap pennies and cut out on things to pay for my son’s autism programming because the schools were so unfriendly to children with differences (and our insurance company is utilizing EVERY loophole to avoid paying for it), I get frustrated.
When my multi-racial husband (most people think he’s Mexican, he’s not, but it’s what people tend to assume he is when they look at him) is worried about being profiled and pulled over and possibly shot by the police, I get frustrated.
Progress is slow and sometimes things go backwards for a bit before they go forwards again in the backlash. Yet this is more stable than the glorious revolutions that some people are calling for the smash the system.
Further, just because people have different beliefs about how to bring about change does not mean that they deserve to be bullied and dissed!
Politics is complicated and messy. It involves compromise because you are balancing the needs and wants of millions of people. And yes, no politician is perfect and has never made a mistake. Yet we seem to be far more forgiving of the mistake that male politicians make than female ones do.
Because somehow the rich white woman who criticizes stop and frisk, acknowledges the racial problems facing the US, had the Mothers of the Movement speak at her national convention, and who after intensely studying her this election season I genuinely believe cares about women and children and making like better for them, and who maintains a calm demeanor in the face of an arrogant, wind-bagged bully and sets traps for him to hang himself with is deserving of more vitriol than the rich white man who advocated for stop and frisk, called black and Hispanic neighborhoods overrun with crime and accused illegal immigrants of shooting everyone, bragged about not paying taxes and insulted women? And while the woman might not be progressive enough for you, she’s going to push things to the left, while the man is purely going to be an unmitigated disaster that I do not want to live through!
Hillary Clinton is on the stage putting up with a bullying who wants to turn the dial back on civil rights. She is fighting misogyny, racism, wealth hoarding, and everything that liberals condemning her for claim to hate. And she’s doing it well.
And if you can’t see that, check your internalized misogyny, because it is showing.